How to get rid of condensation

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It is really common to see water on the inside of the windows in Britain, especially on cold days. This is called condensation and it happens when the humidity in your home is too high.

When you’re trying to stop it happening, it is helpful to know a bit more about why it happens.

  • Daily life (including washing, cooking, showering, drying clothes, breathing and gas heating) puts a lot of water into the air, especially if there are a lot of people in a small space.
  • Water in the air condenses on cold surfaces. This usually means windows, but it can also be walls or even fabrics. Sometimes mould will start to grow.
  • The problem is more obvious in cold or badly insulated homes.

Many modern houses are well insulated but badly ventilated, so warm damp air gets trapped. Older houses have better ventilation but are badly insulated, so the walls will be colder than modern homes.

Here are some tips on how to solve the problem:

  • Even on a wet day in winter, the air outside will probably be drier than the air in your home. Therefore, opening your windows for at least 15 minutes a day can help remove the damp air.
  • Wipe the moisture off windows in the mornings – if you don’t, it can stay there all day because the window surface is so cold.
  • Never let your home get completely cold in winter. Keep your heating on a low temperature (about 15°C) even at night and when you are out or away on holiday. This will help to keep the walls warm.
  • Reduce the amount of water you put into the air. Boil saucepans with a lid on to prevent steam escaping. Keep doors to kitchens and bathrooms shut to stop the wet air moving around the house. Dry your washing outside your home (on a clothes line or at a launderette).
  • Showers produce lots of steam so keep them quick and open the bathroom window afterwards.
  • Don’t store clothes or books against outer walls.
  • Get a dehumidifier if you have constant condensation problems. You could also buy a hygrometer to measure the water in the air. Aim for about 40-50% relative humidity during the winter months.

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